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Zuma mum on R63.9m Nkandla fringe benefit

Mar 29 2017 06:54
Liesl Peyper

Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma is not prepared to divulge whether he declared the fringe benefits accrued to him as a result of the upgrades to his Nkandla homestead to the South African Revenue Service (SARS). 

In a parliamentary question posed to him by the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Alf Lees, Zuma said the matter is between him and SARS. 

“The issue of tax is a confidential matter between the South African Revenue Services and the taxpayer.” 

Zuma, as is stipulated by the Income Tax Act, is liable to pay the estimated R63.9m in fringe benefits tax on the benefits that accrued to him as a result of the state-funded upgrades to Nkandla. 

READ: Nkandla is not just about Zuma 

Reacting to Zuma's refusal to answer the question, Lees said in a statement that although Zuma has the right to not answer the question, the DA simply asked him to confirm that he has declared to SARS the fringe benefit that has accrued to him in order to prove that he is indeed a law-abiding citizen.

"His refusal is yet another indication of him continuously dodging accountability," Lees said. 

Zuma on Tuesday was responding in writing to a number of questions from opposition MPs, including whether he has considered appointing a commission of inquiry into any aspect of the banking and/or financial services sector.

READ: No chopping block for Zwane, just a reprimand

Questioned by the DA’s David Maynier, Zuma said he is not considering appointing a commission of inquiry “at the moment”. 

Maynier's question follows a statement issued by Mines Minister Mosebenzi Zwane in September last year, in which he claimed that Cabinet had decided to probe South Africa’s four major banks and other financial institutions after they closed the accounts of the Gupta family.

The Presidency subsequently issued a statement denying that any such decision had been taken. 

'Cleaning up' at Public Works

Cope MP Deirdré Carter asked Zuma whether he had taken any steps to “clean up” the Department of Public Works by eradicating and preventing irregular procurements, and whether he authorised the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate the irregularities in the procurement of goods and services with regard to upgrades to his homestead in Nkandla. 

Zuma said in his written response that the Department of Public Works as part of its overall turnaround strategy has done a detailed review of its business processes. This resulted in extensive business process re-engineering to vastly improve the supply chain management processes, operations and procurement system.  

This has led to stricter governance and compliance in supply chain management processes.

READ: Public Works wasted R35bn in five years   

In addition, the department has also enforced consequence management against transgressors of supply chain management policies, restricting among others suppliers found to have breached policy.

“The above initiatives have had a profound effect in curbing fraud and corruption, and which has reduced the element of irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure,” Zuma said.

Nkandla investigation

With regard to the Nkandla matter, Zuma said the SIU referred evidence indicating that 12 officials of the department might be guilty of misconduct to the director general, and recommended disciplinary action against them. 

READ: No sign of Zuma home loan 

More evidence that indicated possible criminal transgressions in respect of three former acting directors general was referred to the relevant prosecuting authority, and it was recommended that legal action be taken against them. 

The SIU has also instituted a civil claim against Minenhle Makhanya Architects CC for the damages or losses they allegedly caused the Department of Public Works to suffer.

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sars  |  jacob zuma  |  nkandla homestead
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